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Oklahoman’s Can Pack Heat in Public

Oklahoma citizens can openly carry guns in public with proper permits beginning today. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Senate Bill 1733, signed into law by Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, allows gun owners in that state, with proper permits, to carry loaded firearms in public. The bill amended the previous carry law by removing the word “concealed.” The law, that officially goes into effect today, also allows gun owners with permits to carry loaded firearms openly on their own private property and also allows permitted gun owners from other states to carry them openly while visiting or traveling in Oklahoma.

Would a Law Like This Make You Feel Safer?

Let’s assume you’re a bad guy in Oklahoma City and you want to pick up some quick cash by robbing the neighborhood 7-11 convenience store. You decide to go in and case the joint first. You walk in the door and notice several customers in line — all with “hog legs” hanging on their belts. I’m guessing you might recall the question asked in the movie, “Dirty Harry.” “Do you feel lucky?” I’m guessing not.

Chances are you would feel safer if there was a police officer on every corner as you strolled through downtown. Do you feel safer by the police presence, or that the officer is armed and can protect you with deadly force if necessary? If a perceived high police presence would effectively lower crime rates wouldn’t the perception of an armed populous have the same result. If there’s high probability you’re armed does that make you an easier victim?

Do Guns Deter Crime?

There are some historic relationships between gun sales and reductions in crime. So what type of event triggers increased gun sales? The first Obama election had a profound impact on gun sales. Many gun owners were convinced that President Obama wanted more regulations, or even worse, to take their guns away completely. The population reacted by purchasing 450,000 more guns, a 40% sales increase, in November 2008 than they purchased in 2007 and kept buying clear into 2009. During this same period the US murder rate declined 7.4%, the largest one-year drop in over 10 years according to the FBI.

Does fear of more gun control by the government help increase sales? That Obama thing was just a one-time fluke you might say. Panic buying based on political hype. You’d probably be right to think that. However, another big sales year was 1999 — the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado. Columbine spurred outcries across the nation for more gun regulation and buyers flocked to gun dealer’s cash in hand. As you can see many things have an effect on our perceived need for guns.

Some Final Thoughts

The second amendment gives every US citizen the right to keep and bear arms. I believe the founding fathers knew that in the future some stupid people would be guaranteed that same right. Drunks, people with anger management issues, could also have a weapon on their belts just like the sane, rational people.

Will crime drop in Oklahoma or will Saturday night be the Shootout at the OK Corral? Only time will tell. If the law does become successful would you like to see it enacted in your state? You probably come in contact with people every day that might have a concealed weapon. Now, at least in Oklahoma, you’ll know who’s packin.’

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